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Turkish official says F-35 price may rise following Ankara’s removal from program

The US ruled to boot Turkey from the F-35 program due to its purchasing Russia's S-400 system

ANKARA, July 18. /TASS/. The price tag for the F-35 fighter jet may rise following Washington’s decision to remove Ankara from the F-35 program, head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate Ismail Demir said on Thursday.

"Turkish defense companies may have to deal with temporary financial difficulties following the United States’ decision but the defense industry will only become stronger. Turkish companies will manage to offset their losses but other companies will face a seven to eight million dollar increase in the F-35 price tag," he said, as cited by the Yeni Safak newspaper.

Demir added that "Turkey has no intention to import military equipment until it becomes a necessity."

The White House issued a statement on Wednesday that "Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible." However, Washington pointed out that it will "continue to cooperate with Turkey extensively, mindful of constraints due to the presence of the S-400 system in Turkey." In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry called on the US to change its decision that could irreparably harm bilateral relations.

The S-400 deal

News about Russian-Turkish talks on the delivery of the S-400 systems first came in November 2016. In September 2017, Erdogan announced that Ankara had signed a contract with Moscow on purchasing the S-400 systems and made an advance payment. Russia’s Rostec State Corporation CEO Sergei Chemezov said in December 2017 that the deal was worth $2.5 bln. Ankara will receive two S-400 batteries. The S-400 deliveries began on July 12.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range ones, and can also be used against ground objectives. The S-400 system can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 35 km.